00:00 - 19:0019:00 - 00:00

12:07 AM

@egreg I suddenly thought I'd missed the point of the question and deleted it. Then I realised I hadn't and undeleted it again.
At least, I don't think I did. (I was worried about what the OP might count as being centred.)

@FaheemMitha Actually not. The ne is really only important in written language and formal speech. In spoken colloquial French it's rarely heard.

@AlanMunn @Fah True that (I've spent 15 months in France). Actually, learn what chais pas means, it's being heard a lot ;)

@AlanMunn So, what would one say in spoken French? And do you speak French too?

@yo' Mais maintenant tu sais!

12:11 AM
@egreg Would you write double negatives in formal Italian, too? (I recently discovered that you are not meant to in Welsh. They say that nobody knows written Welsh natively, and I think they're right!)

@AlanMunn bien sur je sais. Mais je savais pas il y a douzaine mois...

@FaheemMitha In spoken French, Je regrette rien.

@AlanMunn Ah, well, that's a relief.

@FaheemMitha you really just drop ne whenever you can ;) you can't drop it for instance in negative imperative: NE TOUCHEZ PAS! and not TOUCHEZ PAS! (e.g., in a museum)

@cfr Yes, also in formal writing.

12:13 AM
In English, it is the reverse. Double negatives are for very informal/illiterate speech.
I.e. I didn't do nothing.

@yo' Au Québec, c'est un mot d'une syllabe.

@AlanMunn lequel mot?

Natural languages are weird. Like the whole giving genders/sexes to inanimate things and stuff.

@cfr A form such as “ho visto nessuno” is not Italian; formerly it would be “non ho visto alcuno”, but it's very old fashioned.

12:15 AM
@FaheemMitha how many genders do you mean? Four? :)

@yo' Two genders. masculine and feminine. But a pen can't be female or male.

@yo' "je sais pas" -> [ʃpɑ]

I basically only know English, so have never got used to the idea. English is relatively unusual in not doing that.

@AlanMunn ah yeah, well, in Czech špa and š pa would be the same, too

Most (all) Indian languages do. As do European Romance languages (afaik).

12:17 AM
@FaheemMitha as do Slavic ones, too. (As I say, we've got 4 of them in Czech)

I've got a feeling we had this discussion in this channel before. I'm getting a sense of deja vu.

@FaheemMitha gotcha! :)

@yo' You have 4 genders? Which are?

@FaheemMitha Yes, Romance languages have gender. And no neuter. Latin had neuter, but inanimated objects could be masculine or feminine as well.

@FaheemMitha masculine living, masculine non-living, feminine, neutrum

12:18 AM
@egreg I dunno if Indian languages have a neuter.
@yo' wow

@FaheemMitha weird language, I know :)

@yo' With different declension patterns, I guess.

@yo' Right.

@egreg we've got 14 classes altogether, with something like 5 further sub-classes, so it's around 20 altogether. But most improtantly, the verb and the adjectives have to agree with the gender of the noun

@FaheemMitha It can get worse that that. The Bantu languages have 8 or more (often the plurals are counted as separate classes, so 8 becomes 16.)

12:21 AM
@AlanMunn Sounds like fun. How do people keep track?

@AlanMunn count Czech for something like 11 then ;)

You're a linguist, so I guess you would know stuff like that. :-)

@yo' Yes, I've never understood why the plurals are treated as separate classes, but that seems to be the tradition. But I'm not a Bantuist.
@FaheemMitha Just a little.
@FaheemMitha People keep track of things quite easily. There's lots of morphology to help out, and if there's one thing that humans are good at it's categorizing.

@AlanMunn and also, the counting is weird, for instance counting toys goes as follows (from 0): žádná hračka / nula hraček, jedna hračka, dvě hračky, tři hračky, čtyři hračky, pět hraček, ...

@yo' Yes, Slavic numbers are just weird.

12:24 AM
@AlanMunn Not this human. The whole gender thing used to really upset me. When I was trying to learn languages with that "feature". And I'm not sure what you mean by morphology.

@FaheemMitha Morphology = prefixes and suffixes (mainly) that are added to words to show certain grammatical properties.

@AlanMunn indeed.
Now I think I better go, I've slept for less than 6 hours in most of the nights in the last week, with only 3.5 the last night, I need some rest.

@AlanMunn oh. it has a different use in biology. probably related. i assume your usage is linguistics-specific.

@FaheemMitha You have to distinguish second language learning from first language learning. People don't have problems learning noun classes in their first language.

@AlanMunn If you say so.

12:26 AM
@FaheemMitha It is basically the same except for applied to words... :)

@AlanMunn And if the second language is German, gender is a mess. ;-)

@AlanMunn Ok

@FaheemMitha What's your native language, Faheem?

@AlanMunn That's a difficult question. I only know English, really, so it would have to be that, by default. But I've been told that English cannot be the native language of an Indian. So, I guess I'm stuck.

@FaheemMitha BS

12:28 AM
I can speak something that resembles Hindi, if you are not paying attention. But I'm sure it is terrible.
@yo' ?

@FaheemMitha it's bullsh**, because most Indians consider English as their first language, AFAIK

@yo' Not true.
I don't know any Indians who would say that. Not that I go around asking.

@FaheemMitha ok, then: all Indians I've met at the university

@yo' Well, fair enough. Not typical, though. Where is that?

@FaheemMitha in France

12:30 AM
@yo' Oh. There are Indians in France?

@FaheemMitha quite some, mostly as post-docs / visiting, but I think there's some as permaments also, just not in my lab

@yo' I see.

Good night all!

@egreg Take care. Thanks for your help.

@egreg Good night.

12:33 AM
@egreg night. I leave as well

@FaheemMitha What language did you speak at home as a child? What language(s) did your parents speak to you?
@yo' Good night.

@egreg Ah, well. Formal Welsh tends to be maximally concise. I guess double negatives are considered unnecessary. (But unlike English, in most contexts, double negatives are fine and correct.) Only 2 genders. But 3 kinds of mutation!

@AlanMunn English, pretty much exclusively. In both cases.
I've never really spoken anything else. Though I can speak something resembling Hindi. As already mentioned.

@FaheemMitha I see. So maybe you are a native Indian English speaker.

Though Hindi is a pretty scrambled language. It doesn't have a strong identity.
@AlanMunn If there is such a thing, then maybe. My observation is that is quite unusual in India, except maybe among very Westernized Indians.

12:35 AM
@FaheemMitha And did you grow up in an area where the local language was Hindi or something else?

Most Indian have strong cultural preferences for their own languages.
@AlanMunn I grew up in Bombay. I guess the prevailing native language here is Marathi, but I don't know that at all.

@FaheemMitha Yes, that's probably true. But I have a friend who is just like you (except for the fact that the language he "doen't" speak is Telegu.)

But Hindi is the official national language of India (I think) and the govt has been pushing it for decades, so most people speak it to some extent.

@FaheemMitha Interesting. I have student who is working on Marathi. (He speaks it.)

It is (probably still is) compulsory to learn it in school.
@AlanMunn Interesting. What does your friend do?

12:38 AM
@FaheemMitha He's also a linguist.

@AlanMunn Oh, and South Indian, presumably.

@FaheemMitha Yes, although has lived here since he was about 18 or so, I think.

@AlanMunn Ok
I guess if you live outside India long enough you can forget your native language. I imagine that happens. Though, as I say, in my case, I never spoke it in the first place.

@FaheemMitha Yes.

As a child I was very Anglophile. I guess we are all young and foolish once. And vigorously resisted attempts to teach me Hindi / Indian languages in general.

12:40 AM
@FaheemMitha Well my student speaks Marathi at home with his parents (who are here too). So he hasn't really lost it.

Not that anyone really cared all that much.

@AlanMunn Do any other languages have mutations? I know that Hebrew used to but I've read that it no longer does.

@AlanMunn ok. Not a very appealing language, Marathi. IMO.

@FaheemMitha Well we like it. :) But it's very similar to Hindi really.

@FaheemMitha Why not? Or what makes a language appealing?

12:42 AM
Then again, I'm not really a fan of Indian languages in general. I do like how European languages sound. German, for example.

@FaheemMitha Interesting. English speakers tend to prefer French. (Though I preferred German when I was in school, certainly.)

@cfr Just my personal feeling/preference. It is rather harsh/guttural sounding. Kind of like how German is billed in Hollywood Nazi films.
@cfr I think German is a beautiful-sounding language. Though the written form is weird. All that running syllables together. Then again, as an adult, I'm a bit of a German-phile. :-)

@FaheemMitha I think that is why English speakers tend not to like it. French is more 'romantic' sounding. [French and German are the most commonly taught foreign languages in schools here.]

@cfr Oh. Where is "here"?

@cfr In general, yes. The Celtic ones are famous I guess, but these kinds of phenomena are relatively common. For example, French has liaison phenomena. Mandarin has various tone changes that are syntactically dependent, etc.

12:45 AM
@cfr If you think German is an ugly language, try listening to the songs of Franz Schubert. :-)

@FaheemMitha Wales. But the same is true for other parts of the UK. (The difference is that Welsh is taught here. But that's not foreign.)

I mean, not you, personally.
@cfr I've heard good things about how Welsh sounds, but I've never heard it spoken. To the extent that it is a living language.

@FaheemMitha I don't think it is ugly. I chose to study it in school rather than French. (I don't think French is ugly either. I just found it boring.)

@cfr Ok

@FaheemMitha Nobody claims Welsh isn't a living language. The issue is rather how much longer it will be living for. But there is no doubt that it is living at the moment.

12:47 AM
I think French sounds good too. But German seems more interesting. And I identify more closely with German culture.
@cfr I see. Are the numbers of speakers declining then?
I wonder how my German-philism would hold up to living in Germany though.

@FaheemMitha I don't know if it is objectively more interesting but we did it in 3 years versus 5 for French so things moved faster ;).

My angophilia took a real beating after living in the Uk for a few years.
@cfr are you an academic/researcher too?
Many of the people here seem to be.

@FaheemMitha It depends how you count ;). Numbers declined badly because England tried to eradicate the language. But numbers have risen again. However, there is controversy over how you count them. (E.g. the Welsh government tends to count all school children, which is hardly fair, whereas opponents tend to not count any learners, which is also hardly fair. So it is hard to say how many speak it!)
@FaheemMitha Would-be. Sort of. Not a linguist though. Ethicist.
@F

@cfr Hmm. Is there any literature in Welsh?

@FaheemMitha
@FaheemMitha Philosopher, that is.

12:51 AM
@cfr I see.
Well, time for sleep, I think. Take care, everyone.

@FaheemMitha Yes! Both ancient and contemporary. The Mabinogi is famous.

@cfr @AlanMunn nice chatting with you.
@cfr I see. That sounds vaguely familar.
Presumably mythical. Any well known characters I would be familar with?

@FaheemMitha Good night.

@AlanMunn Merry Christmas.

@FaheemMitha Thanks!

12:56 AM
@FaheemMitha Not sure. You might know them by other names. Pic (sort of). The text (somewhat modernised).

@cfr that's an impressive piece of TeXing.
Good night/morning everyone.

@FaheemMitha Thank you. Sleep tight and don't let the bugs bite.

2 hours later…
2:48 AM
@AlanMunn 0_o What have you gotten yourself into since the semester ended ... ? And dang, I'm bummed I missed all the language/linguistics discussion.

6 hours later…
8:22 AM
@cfr Quite possibly something in this, given the fact that both spelling and letter coverage in English was affected by the move from hand-writing to printing
@cfr English lacks eth and thorn even though they are present in older hand-written texts, and one explanation I've seen for that is that type was imported from mainland Europe (close by) so lacked the letters. Contrast Iceland: remote so had to make their own lead type and thus retained eth and thorn.

9:22 AM
Christmas over, time to send out the UK-TUG renewal notice

@cfr 'Ah I see. :) I'm not into Twitter, but I do use to post angry letters to incompetent companies. :)

@PauloCereda :-)

@JosephWright So everybody ate too much, and we are on a diet today, right? :)

@PauloCereda I guess so

@Joseph: Did you watch yesterday's episode of Doctor Who? Being a timelord, you probably watched it before it was aired. :)

9:35 AM
@PauloCereda Yes

@JosephWright Cool, I'll watch it later on today.
I thought of subscribing to Netflix, but a lot of series don't get their most recent episodes broadcasted. :(
Apparently, Doctor Who got stuck in Tennant's time. :)

@PauloCereda NetFlix is good but the selection can be a bit odd

@JosephWright True; and I do suspect some region limitation enters in the scene.
As I mentioned one day, no one in Brazil has ever heard about Blackadder.
Speaking of Blackadder and Doctor Who, can we make some sort of campaign for the next doctor to be Brian Blessed? It would be awesome. :)

@PauloCereda :-)

9:58 AM
@PauloCereda no, ate too much, but now meeting extended family so we can eat too much again

@DavidCarlisle ooh! :) Uncut version. :)

@PauloCereda if we don't get snowed in

@DavidCarlisle Oh no!

An area of rain, sleet and snow is expected to spread eastwards across the area during Boxing Day before clearing during the evening and overnight. Some uncertainty surrounds how much snow will occur, but several centimetres of snow is likely even at low levels, especially in a swathe through Wales and the Midlands, where there is the potential for an amber warning. As precipitation clears, roads could turn very icy.

The public should be aware of the potential for disruption from snow. Please watch for updates to this warning, especially if travelling.

@Joseph: Nobody likes tangerines ooh I'm enjoying it so far! :)

10:01 AM
@DavidCarlisle Indeed
@DavidCarlisle We are going to Leicestershire, right into where the snow is coming
@DavidCarlisle Planning to go to Oxford one day next week

@JosephWright Nottingham in my case

@DavidCarlisle Ah, no so far away then

I won't go anywhere... shire anymore. :( Am I using that correct? :)

@PauloCereda "the shires" normally but we know what you mean. (that cuts out most of England though)

@DavidCarlisle ooh. :)
I wanna be English.

10:06 AM
@PauloCereda You are very fickle though, I have definitely seen you want to be German, and you're already Italian and Brazilian. One suspects your devotion to Queen and country may not be absolute,

@DavidCarlisle Will I get biscuits for that? :)

10:19 AM
Can someone get me the content of the comment addressed to me? tex.stackexchange.com/posts/comments/515297?noredirect=1

10:39 AM
@DavidCarlisle Ah, ok. Thanks.

1 hour later…
11:43 AM
I'm hungry.

@PauloCereda Me too.

@Johannes_B Oh no! :)

@PauloCereda There is a question on TeXwelt concerning the templates of our university (texwelt.de/wissen/fragen/10697/…). Even ven during the christmas break am i reminded of that place.

@Johannes_B PhD students don't catch a break. :)

12:06 PM
I have an article from 1979. The author describes the pseudocode in ALGOL and the real code in Fortran. And the text is coded in Klingon.
4

12:19 PM
@percusse Fun fact: in the past, ALGOL was the lingua franca for describing algorithms. :)

@PauloCereda Where is the fun in that fact? :P
Do you know who wrote these articles?
*The Remaining Troublespots in ALGOL 60*
*ALGOL 60 confidential*
@PauloCereda In the former article, he closes it with this; "[...],and he hopes that nobody will ever scrutinize any of his writings as meticulosly as he and others have examined the ALGOL report".
I find it very classy way of taking any possible offense back.

@percusse Tanenbaum? :)

@PauloCereda Duckduckgo it.
which is I hope your default search engine

@percusse o.O
@percusse Oh my! Gotta love DEK.

Hey!

12:33 PM
@PauloCereda From Duckduckgo milestones:

The command "\bye" is part of the PlainTeX macros, right?

Just over two months after hitting two million searches/day, we doubled our traffic again. People start to realize we’re not a Chinese restaurant.

August 19, 2013
@1010011010 Yes

@percusse LOL

@1010011010 You can take it as \end{document}

!!/texdef -t latex \enddocument
Psmith, the TeX bot, in fixed font mode: Here's the output from texdef:

\enddocument:
macro:->\let \AtEndDocument \@firstofone \@enddocumenthook \@checkend {document}\clearpage \begingroup \if@filesw \immediate \closeout \@mainaux \let \@setckpt \@gobbletwo \let \@newl@bel \@testdef \@tempswafalse \makeatletter \@@input \jobname .aux \fi \@dofilelist \ifdim \font@submax >\fontsubfuzz \relax \@font@warning {Size substitutions with differences\MessageBreak up to \font@submax \space have occurred.\@gobbletwo }\fi \@defaultsubs \@refundefined \if@filesw \ifx \@multiplelabels \relax \if@tempswa…

12:36 PM
!!/texdef \bye

Psmith, the TeX bot, in fixed font mode: Here's the output from texdef:

\bye:
Compile error: Forbidden control sequence found while scanning text of \write.

See they are the same

@percusse: LOL you broke Martin's tool. :)

!!/texdef \csname\string\bye\endcsname

Psmith, the TeX bot, in fixed font mode: Here's the output from texdef:

\string\bye:
undefined
Psmith, the TeX bot, in fixed font mode: Here's the output from texdef:

\csname\string\bye\endcsname:
undefined

12:38 PM
meh...

@percusse that's \\bye

@DavidCarlisle Yea I thought I can escape it :P but no.

Ypu can't beat grep
$grep bye kpsewhich plain.tex \outer\def\bye{\par\vfill\supereject\end} !!/texdef -t latex supereject Psmith, the TeX bot, in fixed font mode: Here's the output from texdef: \supereject: macro:->\par \penalty -\@MM Psmith, the TeX bot, in fixed font mode: Here's the output from texdef: \supereject: undefined 12:54 PM @percusse Well, I saw @egreg doing his best to avoid the need of plainTeX, then he finished his document with \bye. It seemed contradictory. @1010011010 I find your lack of faith disturbing @percusse Faith in the plainTeX? Or in egreg? Or... huh? @1010011010 he's done it 118 times btw: search @1010011010 where? in this one? but that's all plain tex tex.stackexchange.com/questions/219511/… surprisingly , this is the only scene I know by heart :) 1:01 PM @percusse I should watch one day probably, right? :p @yo' Only watch this one which is part IV which was part I but I don't know wtf is going on with the episode numbers. I mean the one that is released '7# 79 maybe? @DavidCarlisle yes However there is nothing funnier than this one about Star Wars for my taste @1010011010 the question asked for a plain tex answer, so why do you say it's contradictory to give a plain tex answer? :-) (would you have expected a latex one?) @DavidCarlisle That's not what I said. It's contradictory to try your best to give a TeX answer, then finish with a plain TeX command. I'm talking specifically about this line: \raise1pt\hbox to 0pt{\hss#2\hss}% which is then eventually followed by \bye. Give me a sec, windows is acting up. Restarting. 1:09 PM @1010011010 I honestly don't understand that comment at all. How do you expect the document to finish, since it's a plain tex document? @percusse well, it's nothing compared to the Macabee books @yo' Plot is the same though @1010011010 that's just plain tex, the box commands happen to be primitives but there are no alternatives in plain, it's not like latex where there are "wrappers" for most primitives. @percusse yeah, quite :) 1:31 PM @1010011010 I'm a mathematician, so free of contradictions by assumption. @egreg proof is so much easier if you start by assuming a contradiction Good maen @DavidCarlisle Oh, snap. \clap isn't in plainTeX. You win this time! :-) 2:03 PM @1010011010 No, only \rlap and \llap, but \clap is an easy exercise. ;-) @egreg As demonstrated by you. :-) @DavidCarlisle Assume by contradiction that I'm not free of contradictions. Then you immediately get a contradiction, which of course is a contradiction. So I'm free of contradictions. Good morning/afternoon everyone. Apparently Word is better than LaTeX. Discuss. @AlanMunn: The authors are paid by Macro$oft? ;-)

@ChristianHupfer Apparently not.

2:14 PM
@AlanMunn It just depends on how you weigh the results. I find this passage insulting: “ First, we think that the appearance of the text is secondary to the scientific merit of an article and its impact to the field. And, second, preventing researchers from producing documents in LaTeX would save time and money to maximize the benefit of research and development for both the research team and the public.” Why not mentioning the amount of taxpayer money saved by not buying expensive software?
What are “formatting mistakes” in the opinion of the authors?

@AlanMunn that's some nice bull's you know what.

2:29 PM
@AlanMunn Not to open a can of worms but if you read the abstract carefully it can be true. Since everybody switches to tweak mode after 5 mins. And if they consider that to be unproductive it is almost expected to come out like that.
I would say probably they have given the subjects tasks that don't have typesetting aesthetics or proper end product requirements.
OTherwise there is no @#$%%$#^ way that you can find your way around that ribbon.
Ah it's open source. Cool :)

Sorry, but I think that explanaition around Fig 6 shows some flaws: "However, LaTeX users made significantly more orthographic and grammatical errors than Word users"

@egreg Yes, this is something that is not well defined in the paper. And for sure their rhetoric in the conclusions is just over the top.
@yo' How so? Figure 6 is just for the equation text. The errors in the table and continuous texts seem to match that claim.

@AlanMunn well, it depends on (1) what is important to you, (2) what amount of which is included in the text. Without mentioning what they consider and providing research on how typical articles in various fields look like, the statement is blatantly put up.

@AlanMunn I think the article is a tautology :) I wouldn't take it serious because clearly they don't know why LaTeX is used. The table shows it clearly. I guess we can summarize the article as "Quick and dirty tasks, Word is better" which I would agree.

@percusse Also, I find the table task enlightening...It's not like we don't all agree that editing tables in LaTeX can be painful. In fact for larger tables I usually make the cells in Excel and then paste them in as LaTeX code with a script.

2:44 PM
And their plot figures tells a bit about their taste too ;)

@percusse :) Indeed.

This is from the supplementary pdf
In the introduction of the paper, we state that LaTeX embodies the principle of “What you get is what
you mean” (WYGIWYM), which implies that the document is not directly displayed on the screen and
changes, such as format settings, are not immediately visible. Although this is true, LateX users often
use synchronous-formatting interfaces that display the printed page in standard PDF which, in
principle, is more WYSIWYG than Word.
The study was conducted when most of the participants in the Word groups used Word Version 12.
So they mean, "many use LyX"
But the last sentence, my oh my...
2

@percusse Apart from the size of the texts, the task is biased towards the Word users, since the task is to reproduce the formatting of the text. Setting up an arbitrary format in LaTeX does take more time, which plausibly account for the fact that the Word users produced more text overall. But reproducing a particular format is usually done at the class level in LaTeX, and so the comparison isn't very fair.

@AlanMunn Inputting numeric data in a big numeric table should be done with dedicated external tools. Once the data is laid out, adjusting the table's appearance is easy.

@AlanMunn I think the comparison is fair in the sense that Here is some text, duplicate as good as possible.. Not only Word but any WYSIWYG would beat LaTeX users. But this article is about productivity and they should know better than anyone (as academics) that these are for serious documents presenting serious results and significant care should go in.
Take for example the caption boldness. A TeX user would go about setting up the settings of the caption package. A word user probably won't even use a caption

2:58 PM
@egreg Yes, I agree. That's exactly what I do. But I'm assuming people weren't allowed to do that in the study.

So end result would be the same but Word user would do it in a very very very bad way.
A better task would be giving a long document and saying change the captions to bla bla and section titles to whatever... then we'll talk.

@AlanMunn Also for Word? I don't think so.

Because that's where efficiency matters. Though I have to mention that the auto-correction of Word is really good.

@AlanMunn if not, then LaTeX's &-syntax equivalent is using the fixed tab positions.

@egreg I would assume also for Word. Entering tabular data in Word itself is much easier than entering a LaTeX table in most editors.

3:26 PM
@percusse Consider the goal of scientific papers: transferring information. I think the issue of the outside world is that one is used to poorly typeset text. Once this numbs a little, MS Word is simply the better medium because the goal is more easily reached.
As much as I love the art of producing better print, it's an expectation that I can't justify compelling others to comply to.
On an unrelated note, does an infinitely shrinkable glue command exist in tex?

@1010011010 I don't think anyone here is advocating compelling the use of LaTeX. :)

@AlanMunn Okay, I may have taken some freedom in the magnitude of my phrasing. :-)

3:45 PM
@1010011010 It depends on what you need to do: adding \hskip 0pt minus -1fil is infinitely shrinkable, but you can't use it in a paragraph.

@1010011010 Deciphering your text is not the readers' responsibility. It has to be readable as much as possible. Because as you say the author is responsible for transmitting information. Leaving obscure and weird formulations to readers as exercise is loathable
if that's a word.
So you can't just type it in and submit. Typesetting research is a serious phase and the researchers are paid mostly for that much more than the content that they provide.
Current practice is stupid because everybody is in survival mode and publish or perish dominates. Using TeX at least makes it bearable.
Most of the cases that is.

@percusse And that was the one funny finding in the paper! LaTeX users enjoyed it more... :)

@AlanMunn MS Word needs a procrastination button

@percusse It's probably there somewhere but nobody can find it.

@AlanMunn haha, so true!

3:51 PM
But on a slightly more serious note, how would you (all) go about designing a better experiment? I might be willing to carry it out if people were interested.

@AlanMunn It has to have at least two phases 1.(Creating a document) and 2.(Modifying the same document)

@percusse Yes I agree that's a big issue for sure.
@percusse Overcoming the issue of long documents is tricky in an experimental setting. It might be interesting to randomly survey students submitting their theses at my university (which has an arbitrarily imposed standard) to see (i) how long they spend on final formatting (ii) how many rejections by the thesis office they get.

4:16 PM
@percusse The word you were looking for is, probably, 'loathsome'; highly appropriate, if I may say so.

@Brent: could you translate arara to Welsh?

@PauloCereda Sorry, Paulo, I really don't think my (vestigial) Welsh is up to that...

@Brent.Longborough :)
@Brent.Longborough: ^^
Where's the bloody octothorpe in this devilish typewriter? :)
2

@PauloCereda Aha! In IBM Brazil, we used to call that 'telex sem fio'

@Brent.Longborough LOL
@Brent: @cfr is very fluent in Welsh, maybe she can help us. :)

4:22 PM
@percusse That is entirely correct. The only thing I'm advocating here is that when starting with the assumption that typography isn't necessarily an issue, there's limited argument to use LaTeX over Word. Since most people don't pay attention to typographic details, LaTeX is at advantage rather than Word at disadvantage. In most cases the assumption true (unfortunately) and in the process I have to read through countless document tiresome to the eyes.
@egreg There's no conditional like \ifpar right? :-)

@PauloCereda That seems like a plan

@1010011010 It can't be used in unrestricted horizontal mode (unless another glue eventually kills the infinite shrinkability): where \ifhmode is true and \ifinner is false.

4:57 PM
@1010011010 Right, I agree. But that limited argument is the one that makes scientific publishing worth reading/saving etc. So I don't think anyone would argue that all secreteriat suddenly should switch to LaTeX. That would be insane.
However, a researcher has to spend more time on making it readable than making it complete. Conference proceedings are compact articles and they are impossible to read. Why would you even care to publish?
So, there is a pressure from other sources that are not necessarily typography related. But at least, TeX offers ways to make it way more readable in those cramped situations.
That is a prime example of spending a lot of time to make things fit right in a two column 6-page document in order to make things readable. IF you try to tweak anything in Word, you'll have a lot of gray hair, especially if it doesn't agree with you about hypenation of a certain word.
@1010011010 @AlanMunn On another subject this came out recently on Huff 'n Puff

I updated my question:

@Brent.Longborough Isn't that an Elvis song? Are you loathsome tonight?

0

In Automatically creating a table from datatool using references in the text I asked a question about datatool automatically generating a table based on references to the text. David Carlisle answered it, but I've had difficulty adapting the answer to the format of the question; namely a loop ov...

with my failing example code. Would anyone care to take a look?

@percusse Given that all the hard work is done for free (or at least paid for by others) it's not surprising...

\def\zz#1#2{\noalign{%
\expandafter\ifx\csname REF:#1\endcsname\@empty
\def\@currentlabel{#2}\label{#1}%
\else
\aftergroup\zzapline
\fi}#2}
I don't understand the role of \noalign in this. This is, however, mentioned in the error message. Namely:
Misplaced \noalign.
@percusse This seems a popular topic these days.

5:09 PM
@FaheemMitha Last two years I would say, since the Elsevier boycott ramped up.

@percusse Is that still going? I didn't see a mention of it in the article.

@FaheemMitha They stirred up the soup so hard; you odn't need to boycott anymore to think journals are obsolete ;)

"Starting in January 2015 all work funded through the Gates Foundation will be open access"
This is kind of funny.

@percusse Looks interesting, but family calls. :-( What a predicament. I'll take a look later.

@percusse Who stirred the soup?

5:11 PM
You're not off the hook yet! :-)

This year Dutch governmental body was almost cancelling the Elsevier publications from universities. Elsevier agreed to keep the last years price. Next year will be a little more heated.
@1010011010 No problem :)
@FaheemMitha Tim Gowers et al.

@percusse It's a general problem. Personally I don't even like the for-profit open access journals.

They also managed to get the numbers that Universities paying to Elsevier, which was a trade secret by contract

I guess Elsevier is particularly obnoxious.
@percusse I see. And what are they?

@FaheemMitha Not really they are the biggest hence the smellier

5:14 PM
@percusse But they do that bundling thing. Not everyone does that.

@FaheemMitha Almost all does.
out of big four

@percusse Oh, really? I did not know that.
What are the big 4? Elsevier, Springer, ...?

@FaheemMitha US numbers are in the middle, UK numbers are towards the end gowers.wordpress.com/2014/04/24/elsevier-journals-some-facts
Wiley and Sage

@percusse Ok
@percusse Good article. Nice to see Gowers is still on the case.

@FaheemMitha There is another excel file somewhere that I couldn't locate now. That has the last five years' figures for UK

5:18 PM
@percusse Ok

5:45 PM
@PauloCereda Fi'n rhugl? Pwy sy'n dweud felly wrthoch chi?
@PauloCereda Or should the 'rh' have mutated? (I can never remember when 'rh' and 'll' mutate and when they don't.)

6:01 PM
@cfr uh-oh. :)

6:29 PM
Can anyone explain what the \noalign in
\def\zz#1#2{\noalign{%
\expandafter\ifx\csname REF:#1\endcsname\@empty
\def\@currentlabel{#2}\label{#1}%
\else
\aftergroup\zzapline
\fi}#2}
is for? Still puzzled by it...

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